Assisted dying Bill

 

Today the Lords will debate this private members bill. There is as yet no date or opportunity for this to be debated in the Commons. The Bill will only come to us for debate and decision should it pass all stages in the Lords, which is likely to be difficult given the strong forces against it.

I would be interested in constituents’ views on this issue. I have not made up my mind. Should the Bill reach the Commons then I will come to a conclusion in the light of constituency opinion and my own thoughts on the content of the amended Bill. I will of course be weighing the good it could do for those in pain and terminal distress who want to end their lives, against the danger of vulnerable people being talked into early death for the wrong reasons. I will also be interested in medical opinion on whether doctors will wish to assist with this proposed legislation if passed, and how easy it is to be sure someone ┬áis going to die soon anyway.

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5 Comments

  1. Dee
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I support this bill due to experience with the dying, both suffering and non suffering.
    It has to be a personal choice, though. My mum died of lung cancer and did not suffer. She did not want to die, so was rightly nursed till the end, although unconscious when it came. Had she been subject to unbearable suffering, she expressed a wish to be helped out at the end if necessary. I probably would have done that for her.
    It is an act of compassion. We must be a compassionate nation, not one that forces others to suffer so we can take the moral high ground whilst not having to witness or experience the suffering of the desperate.
    Personal choice is everything. This has to be safeguarded. But we should be granted the compassion we give to suffering animals.

  2. Jim
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Its very simple. Look at the last time doctors were given the responsibility of taking decisions of an ethical nature on behalf of patients – the Abortion Act. Nominally a doctor is supposed to examine someone asking for an abortion and decide if not having one would be a detriment to their mental wellbeing. The implication being that they can decide yes or no. Do they ever do this, ie refuse an abortion on the grounds the mental health of the patient is not at risk, or do we now have abortion on demand?

    The answer is obvious, and indicates where the Assisted Dying Bill would lead – assisted suicide on demand with no controls, no oversight, leading to vulnerable people being railroaded into euthanasia by outside forces, be that family members wanting to inherit money, or no longer care for someone, or indeed medical professionals attempting to reduce their workload by getting rid of ‘difficult’ cases.

    It is a pernicious Bill and should be opposed at all costs.

  3. Peejos
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I am very perturbed that you have not made up your mind yet. Forget all the emotion and stand back looking at the development of such legislation over time. The number of sensitive people who believe that they are a burden to their loved ones will have such a depth of guilt that they will elect to be killed to assuage it.

    I am a retired veterinary surgeon who has ‘put down’ large numbers of domestic pets, cattle, birds and heart rendingly horses. Owners of such animals, almost withot exception expected me to make the decision and of course carry it out. Yet many times I have told someone that their animal has a lot more life in it yet, to hear it died overnight or to warn them to say their last wishes at home for it to turn up six months later hale and hearty.

    To find adequately fortified pairs of doctors with protracted experience of terminally ill patients, genuinely capable of accurately assessing the future life of patients that they have not met before will, I suggest, not be a simple matter. Will there be a special diploma and will they travel the country as a team to carry out their statistically low task?

  4. iain
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Basic problem has been created by the pharmaceutical companies concentrating almost exclusively on products to extend the “life” of bodily parts which have not included the brain. There is nothing more cruel than prolonging life when the brain function has diminished to the extent that quality of life is as close to zero as it can get. In these circumstances what is the point ? . We now have a large and increasing number of people whose understanding and awareness has diminished to such an extent that they are deemed incapable of making decisions. There will be no assisted suicide for them.

    If legislation is to be considered I feel that it should only come into effect say 10 years after it goes onto the statute book to give those currently of sound mind plenty of time to legally state their wishes in the event of possible future mental or physical ( eg deaf/ blind/ bedridden) malfunction.

  5. Posted July 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    My first dissertation centred on this ethical point.I was against it then ,but under strict controls lets stop the suffering and allow at least a higher dose of morphine in the syringe drivers and not accuse everyone of murder when someone in the last stages of life dies.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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